FIRST PhD Doctor; Magellan TCHOUAKUI, a CRID first fruit

Curled from a pool of Ph.D students being mentored at the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases (CRID) Magellan TCHOUAKUI emerges first Ph.D now a Doctor from CRID. To this effect, CRID is proud of her own very first PhD Dr. Magellan TCHOUAKUI. who successfully defended his PhD on June 16, 2020 at the University of Yaoundé I.

Under the supervision of Professor of Genetics at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Prof Charles Wondji and Lecturer at the University of Yaoundé I Prof. Flobert NJIOKOU, Magellan built his topic “Fitness cost of metabolic resistance to insecticide in the major African malaria vector Anopheles funestus”, a research work which took off in October 2015.

As the new Doctor reveals, after a successful masters degree on “lymphatic filariasis”, he was recommended to Prof Charles WONDJI by his previous supervisor Professor Flobert NJIOKOU to work on one of the objectives of his Senior Wellcome Trust Fellowship project aiming at evaluating the impact of resistance to insecticides on the efficacy of malaria vector control tools. It is here that his success journey with CRID kicked off.

A success story is not without challenges- amongst the many challenges encountered during this thesis, Dr. TCHOUAKUI Magellan reveals that, at the beginning of his thesis, there was a need for a simple technic to detect and map the distribution of one important resistant marker on what his study was based (L119F-GSTe2 mutation) but he succeeded in designing and implementing a simple PCR-based technic for this purpose and the technic is now being used by many other researchers.

We also faced a challenge in maintaining the field strain of Anopheles funestus in the lab for more than two generations in order to analyze a potential reversal to susceptibility in the absence of insecticide. To overcome this, we used two laboratory strain for this assement” says Dr. TCHOUAKUI

Results obtained from this research were presented at various national and international conferences which helped in the publication of four (04) major research articles in reputable internationals journals.

From his research thesis, several recommendations have been made to the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) to improve malaria vector control.

wide view of defense session

We recommended to NCMP to distribute to the populations the PB0-based nets which showed a better efficacy; rotate the classes of insecticides used in vector control in order to slow the spread of resistance; implement alternative control measures such as targeting the mating swarms to control malaria vectors; finally we recommended the use of either carbamate or organophosphate insecticide for the coming Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) since the vectors were found to be highly resistant to pyrethroid insecticide which is the most use” Magellan adds

Magellan TCHOUAKUI affirms that, in pursuit of his career as researcher, he continues to as a Post-doctoral Research Assistant at CRID working in the Senior Renewal Fellowship project of Prof Charles Wondji. This project aims at Elucidating the complex evolution of insecticide resistance in the major malaria vector Anopheles funestus Africa-wide and its impact on control programmes.

The two (02) hour PhD defense ceremony was massively attended by staff from CRID who showed their love and support in various capacities as Magellan celebrated this mile stone.


Vector Control and the Emergence of Resistance, Charles S. Wondji – ASTMH 2019

Malaria infection is still one of the major causes of deaths in populations of the African continent. The global tally of malaria deaths lingers around 400,000-500,000 deaths annually. Since 2000, the incidence of malaria has reduced by 17% and mortality rates by 26%, giving hopes for a possible control towards elimination. Although malaria case incidence has fallen globally since 2010, the rate of decline has stalled and even reversed in some regions. Mortality rates have followed a similar pattern. National Malaria Programs and researchers still battle a plethora of challenges ranging from case management, transmission dynamics, insecticide and drug resistance, requiring innovative approaches. Presumptive treatment is still syndromic in most health establishments

Treatment is frequently interrupted by drug stock outs and systemic dysfunctions of the health sector. With the known 450 anopheles species, of which 60 can potentially transmit malaria, resistance to insecticides has become a worrisome undertaking for malaria control programs in the face of other control program difficulties of effective interventions and environmental hygiene. Besides there is great genetic diversity and a changing epidemiology of resistant parasite populations. The malaria control programs manage these bottle necks amid weak heath systems and are still faced with malaria case management inadequacies and poor mass drug administration. Combination options such as with drugs and vaccines or the identification of the anopheline metabolic resistance biomarker in Cameroon, may provide new insights into control efforts.

These innovations, in addition to other solutions to overcome programmatic challenges, is being debated as an Africa-led leadership approach towards malaria elimination. The goal of this symposium is to provide African research leaders’ perspectives on challenges and ways to circumvent programmatic challenges for malaria elimination. The specific objectives are: i) to demonstrate the importance of a holistic approach to malaria elimination in Africa; ii) to outline the challenges encountered by National Malaria Control Programs in Africa in vector control, parasite resistance amid mass drug administration, and programmatic related issues; and iii) to propose solutions and directions for further consideration in interventions towards malaria elimination.

Listen to and download Prof Charles’ presentation at the 68th ASTMH annual meeting in Maryland, November 2019